I have received some questions about The Outlaw Bible Student (OBS) website; this happens from time-to-time. People want to know more about us and if the OBS is popular outside the United States and, if so, how many countries does it cover, and things like that. I’m not sure why they want to know, but I am pleased that they are interested. Maybe it is just plain curiosity; I can relate to that.
A couple of articles were previously written about this site, but both are from more than two years ago. One was titled “Who is The Outlaw Bible Student,”1 and it included information now found on the main menu under the heading ‘About OBS’. The other article was inspired by someone writing and stating they liked our clean-cut web presence. It was titled “There is a Good Reason for our ‘Clutter-Free’ Web Site — it is Matthew 7:12.”2
Anyway, I decided it may be time to list a few statistics about us, so our readers will know, although they may not be all that impressive to some. Also, I’ll add a couple of thoughts about our attitude and goals.
I am an ordained Christian minister who became known as an outlaw, because I always had offbeat and alternative views on many Bible subjects. I enjoyed speaking and writing and studying about topics other ministers and preachers avoided and I never believed in being politically correct. I wanted to speak about what God wanted everyone to hear, not just tell them what they wanted to hear. And I always felt that everyone should know the truth of scripture and be able to apply it to their own lives, as well as grow in their relationship with our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This project was started back in 2017 as an educational project of NW Christian Ministries (NWCM.org)3 and it got off to a slow start with just a few readers. Since there was no money for advertising, I handed out cards inviting people to read rather different, but interesting, articles, and I put-up notices on bulletin boards, and used other low-key and free strategies to attract readers.
I just started writing and publishing and praying. I figured if our Lord thought this was a good idea, he would help me and guide me to continue my mission. So far, so good. I figure that he will let me know if and when I should stop. Eventually internet search engines started listing the site and word-of-mouth (or word by email) brought more visitors. Eventually, other web sites started republishing parts of articles or whole articles and OBS started getting placed on other internet lists. Basically, one thing led to another and the readership grew.
How far do we reach?
Usually, our website receives some information about the countries from which our visitors come. For instance, in the United States, we may know the state in which the viewer is located, and the web host, like Comcast, Verizon, Cox Communications, etc. We can sometimes narrow it down to a general metropolitan area, but derive no details like name, address, or even a street name or neighborhood. For instance, we may know someone accessed our site in the general New Orleans, Louisiana area, but do not know if it was the Mayor of the city, or a homeless person at a library or internet hot spot, somewhere inside or outside the city. A mobile computer or phone on the move may not even register a location of any kind.
For many parts of the world, we can only learn what country is visiting or by what flag they fly. There are 195 individual countries on earth, but we have received, so far, visits from 210. How is this possible, you may ask? Well, there are some countries, which possess territories. For instance, the United States owns Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa. Although possessed by the U.S., they fly their own official flags and show up in our statistics as separate countries.
During the first few months of this year, it was surprising to receive visitors from the continent of Antarctica. There are no countries, states, or cities on this frozen continent in the Southern Hemisphere, where the South Pole is located. But there are scattered research facilities from several nations and the visits were from a couple of Antarctic territory research stations, which fly their own designated official flags. Cool, huh? (South pole, cool, get it? Sorry, I couldn’t help that corny ‘play on words’.) Now, I am pleased to say we have been visited by people in all countries (except North Korea) and all seven continents on earth.
But, we got a bigger surprise recently, when someone from the ‘Holy See’ visited The Outlaw Bible Student website. To get a visit from Vatican City in Rome would have been surprising in itself, but from the Holy See, which flies it own unique flag, is puzzling. The Holy See is the central governing body of the worldwide Roman Catholic Church, and located within the Vatican complex — it is the home of the Pope. I have no idea what on The Outlaw Bible Student site might have gotten their attention.
Rank of the 10 counties that visit the most are (in order): United States, China, Singapore, Germany, United Kingdom, Russian Federation, France, Canada, India, and Ukraine. A visitor’s ability to translate to their own language on our site has greatly increased our foreign readership. Visitors can now view, download, print, and email from our site in 54 languages.
Number of Visitors
We like to measure the OBS popularity by the individual visits we get, not by how many hits are registered. Here is why. Every time a web browser requests a file from a web server, a hit is recorded. Generally, each web page consists of a large number of files. For instance, a web page is a combination of several different files such as text files, graphic or photo files, top, side, and bottom menu files, advertisement files, instruction files, reference files, etc. Whenever a user views a single web page, 15 or more hits might get registered on the web server for only one page visit. If a person visits once, but views five pages, the site can easily rack-up 75 hits or more.
That is not an accurate way to measure popularity. Those sites that count only hits, instead of actual individual visits, will cram many elements onto the pages to generate high numbers of hits. So, a hit counter is really of no value for gauging honest popularity of a web site. A more accurate way to gauge popularity is by page visits, not site hits. If someone lands on one page, you register one visit. Five pages, you register five visits.
Popular social sites, like celebrity sites can draw several hundred visits a day. Superstars can draw thousands. News sites can get many thousands on a normal day and more if there is a hot news item circulating. Sometimes, something will go viral and you could get tens of thousands of visits in a week. But to be honest, most smaller businesses and organizations do very well to get 50-100 visits a day. Most individual blog site owners get 100 or fewer visits a day.
The Outlaw Bible Student, being a religious web site and specifically, a Christian one, is considered a niche site. A niche site is one that has a rather narrow focus, like that of OBS, which helps Christians understand biblical truth and how that truth relates to each of us individually, and to the world in which we live.
We are considered a fairly high volume niche site by Google, since we get more than 1000 visits a day. Actually, we get more than 1500 a day and about 50,000 visits a month (the last 30 days recorded 54,352 visits). It has taken more than two years to climb to this level. Thanks to everyone who helps by spreading the word.
Our highest daily count, so far, was 3864 visits on 3 February 2020, which was an average of 161 visits per hour, or about 2.7 visits per minute. We saw a drop after the Coronavirus (CoVid-19) outbreak, but it leveled off and has begun climbing again.
Of course, our advertising stats are zero, because we allow no paid advertising. Also, our sales rate is zero, since we sell nothing. The only draw for viewers are truthful articles about biblical subjects — nothing to buy here.
Tithing & Support
New Testament scripture does not command Christians to give a tithe, and it is scripture not tradition that is our authority. That is why we do not ask for anyone to tithe. As you may imagine, I’ve often been advised not to mention such things. A minister of God should not expect a church organization or the congregation to support a certain lifestyle.
The tithe is a Mosaic Covenant law, which is not applicable to Christians. A high living standard arrangement may have developed among some Jewish priests during Jesus’ day, but that is not what Jesus, himself, expected. The disciples received food, shelter, and clothing during their travels, but these followers often worked at trades, too. We believe as Jesus did when he sent out his apostles to teach, preach, and minister to the people. He said, “You received without paying; give without pay.” (Matthew 10:8b, ESV).
His followers may have received money for expenses, but it was accepted as free-will donations, not from demands. For a full explanation about tithing, see our article titled “Are Christians Required to Tithe?” which is listed at the end of this article.4
Since we sell no products, services, or information and we accept no advertising on the OBS website, our income is quite low. No membership is required to access the materials; it is all free to read and free to share. There are no paid positions and all physical work provided is completely voluntary, but we can use monetary help for other expenses we incur: website hosting expenses and services, internet provider services, maintenance and security, computer related expenses, office and research expenses, etc.
We don’t believe in sending out solicitation letters or begging for money, so financial support for the operation of this Christian ministry is provided entirely by its workers and the free-will gifts of those who wish to see our work continue. We greatly appreciate those few who do send monetary help. We could not do this without you; thank you. Anyone who wishes to help, please see our “Donate” page listed on the main menu bar; even small amounts help.
Our Most Read Articles
To date, the five most popular articles are: (1) “‘Put your hand under my thigh’ — What is that all about?”5 (2) “That Monthly Period of Women — Did God Curse Eve?”6 and (3) “Sun Worship, Sex in the Bible, and Church Steeples: A Brief History of Pagan Rituals and Traditions Carried into the Christian Church.”7
Two other articles follow the above: (4) “Job 4: Eliphaz’s Dream”8 (which is rather surprising to me; I didn’t think it would have such a wide appeal), and (5) “Masturbation: Is It a Sin?”9 These articles have had many tens of thousands of visits over the last couple years.
We appreciate your visits to The Outlaw Bible Student and pray the information provided has helped you in understanding God’s plan for humankind. We pray you remain faithful, so as to partake of our Lord’s promises and provision of an eternal life in his kingdom.
Social Media & Conclusion
We have a presence on social media, but only as a place for people to find out about the latest articles on our website. We do not use social media to communicate, as it would be a full-time job that we can’t justify. We have a page on Facebook,10 as well as USA.Life.11 Many people relate Facebook to a liberal audience and USA.Life to a conservative audience.
Facebook is constantly changing their rules and will suspend, remove, or delete sites that don’t bend to their will. USA.Life is much less demanding, but not as popular. We put up listings of most new articles with links on both these sites, but that is about all. All public communication with us is through our own OBS website.
I have picked a song for our friends in Southeast Asia. This is a song of praise recorded at Cornerstone Community Church, Republic of Singapore. For those that do not understand the language (Myanmar [Burmese]), you can still feel the love for God in your heart as you listen to this honorable song of praise and worship, titled ‘Let It Shine’. It is wonderful to know that Christians all around the world praise God in many different languages. Selected lyrics are below (a ‘somewhat’ English translation). The video is listed in References & Notes.12
Over the course of my life,
It was just full of painful wounds
Under the roof of trouble always
You are my God
I will bow down to my knees
The Most Beautiful Lord Jesus,
The light of eternal truth
Light up in my life
Copyright © 2020, Dr. Ray Hermann
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References & Notes
- “Who is The Outlaw Bible Student?” (The Outlaw Bible Student, OBS, 12 February 2018), https://outlawbiblestudent.org/who-is-the-outlaw-bible-student/
- “There is a Good Reason for our ‘Clutter-Free’ Web Site — it is Matthew 7:12″, (The Outlaw Bible Student, OBS, 22 February 2018), https://outlawbiblestudent.org/there-is-a-good-reason-for-our-clutter-free-web-site/
- Although NW Christian Ministries is no longer in operation, nwcm.org is still a recognized web address owned by us and it leads to The Outlaw Bible Student, if entered into a web browser. https://nwcm.org/
- Hermann, Ray, “Are Christians Required to Tithe?” (The Outlaw Bible Student, OBS, 3 June 2019), https://outlawbiblestudent.org/are-christians-required-to-tithe/
- “‘Put your hand under my thigh’ — What is that all about?” (The Outlaw Bible Student, OBS, 9 September 2018), https://outlawbiblestudent.org/put-your-hand-under-my-thigh-what-is-that-all-about/
- “That Monthly Period of Women — Did God Curse Eve?” (The Outlaw Bible Student, OBS, 16 December 2018), https://outlawbiblestudent.org/that-monthly-period-of-women-did-god-curse-eve/
- “Sun Worship, Sex in the Bible, and Church Steeples: A Brief History of Pagan Rituals and Traditions Carried into the Christian Church”, (The Outlaw Bible Student, OBS, 19 March 2018), https://outlawbiblestudent.org/sun-worship-sex-in-the-bible-and-church-steeples-a-brief-history-of-pagan-rituals-and-traditions-carried-into-the-christian-church/
- “Job 4: Eliphaz’s Dream”, (The Outlaw Bible Student, OBS, 17 May 2019), https://outlawbiblestudent.org/job-4-eliphazs-dream/
- “Masturbation: Is It a Sin?” (The Outlaw Bible Student, OBS, 23 May 2018), https://outlawbiblestudent.org/masturbation-is-it-a-sin/
- OBS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Outlaw-Bible-Student-1068860236590288/
- OBS on USA.Life: https://usa.life/RevRay
- “Let it shine”, Artist: Susanna Min; Album: Let It Shine, 2014, organized by Charis Full Gospel Centre, Singapore; (Licensed: RouteNote [on behalf of Susanna Min Worship Ministry]; Routenote Publishing; and more), uploaded 12 April 2015 — VIDEO: https://youtu.be/9CUUiXQMCw0?list=PL8LuHK9SNbJKPkNBxphyfBN29VI4BlP7L